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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

3327 - Royal Ramble: 2004

Jumping ahead to 2004... and for those who know what that means... well, you know what that means.





In a bit of a departure, I'm watching the DVD release of the Rumble that was part of the Royal Rumble anthology set.

RAW Tag-Team champions Batista and Ric Flair defeated The Dudley Boyz in a Tables match to retain the titles. I like garbage matches as much as the next guy... depending on who the next guy is, but this struggled and failed to keep my interest up. Probably because I already knew the end result before the bell rang. Also, this show is in Philly, home of ECW. What a wonderful way to make the people happy by having the hometown boys lose. That'll make 'em care about Evolution.

Cruiserweight champion Rey Mysterio defeated Jamie Noble in a ridiculously short match to retain the title. Noble was doing the hick thing with former Tough Enough winner Nidia, who accidently tripped up Noble and allowed Rey Rey to do his whole 619 thing to get the win. A complete waste of time that somehow made it to PPV, back when WWE did PPVs and charged forty bucks a pop for one.

Eddie Guerrero defeated Chavo Guerrero... Jr, who's paired up with Chavo Sr. This was also fairly short; a little longer than the Rey/Noble match, but it felt like just as things were starting to pick up, it was all over in an instant and both moved on to seperate things; like winning the WWE title and Cruiserweight titles respectively... but that would be spoiling.

Oops, too late.

WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defeated Hardcore Holly to win the title. This match stemmed from a time when Brock had injured Holly in a prior match and this was apparently the long-awaited blow-off to that whole thing. Watching this match was like watching a Brock Lesnar match today, except instead of endless Suplexes, we get endless bearhugs. At least it was short, but even back then, I never thought Holly had a chance in hell of winning and I don't think anyone else did either.

The match between World Champion McSon-In-Law and Shawn Michaels ends in a draw after a rather lengthy and dull match. Back in 2004, this match put me to sleep. Today, I'd be a little more generous and say it bored me immensely. Went too long, was uninteresting, and considering this is during the McSon-In-Law Reign Of Hell that dominated 2002-2005, I can't say there was anything worthwhile here. A complete waste of filler space and the designated piss break match.

And in a moment everyone wants to forget, Chris Benoit wins the 2004 Royal Rumble to earn himself a title shot at Wrestlemania XX, which he would later win. On top of that, Benoit starts at No. 1 and is a rather prominent presence in the match, which means if you wanted to skip bits that had no Benoit, you may as well skip the whole match because there was no way to escape him.

It is a rather depressing experience to be watching this match all the way through, given what would happen to Benoit towards the end of his life. And no doubt, the events that transpired around that time have subsequently sullied anything he was involved in. The 2004 Rumble is, unfortunately, a victim of this to the point where you hardly see it referenced. I can't fault WWE for this and can understand their perspective on the matter, but it also means that a really good Rumble match has been sullied by the actions of the man who played a major roll in that match.

Now if you enjoy watching Chris Benoit matches or can sit through a lot of Chris Benoit - and those people exist, even in 2018 - then you'll probably get a kick out of the Rumble match because it's really, really good; probably one of the best Rumbles I've seen. But otherwise, there is no reason whatsoever to watch the 2004 edition of the show. Nothing of note happens, the matches aren't very good (either due to being too shorty or just not good in general), and it is a complete waste of time.

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